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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like any fine vintage, it improves with age.
This is a superb collection that will keep viewer busy for a long time and Roy Marsden put in a brilliant performance in every single one of his scenes. The slower moving early episodes are epics in the way that no other detective series ever was (in point of fact, these were never 'series' in the traditional sense).

My favourite story was the very first, Death...
Published on 12 July 2010 by Amazon Customer

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
It is spoilt by not having all the repeats at the start of each episode removed.
Published 4 months ago by Alastair maiden


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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like any fine vintage, it improves with age., 12 July 2010
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This review is from: PD James: The Adam Dalgliesh Chronicles [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
This is a superb collection that will keep viewer busy for a long time and Roy Marsden put in a brilliant performance in every single one of his scenes. The slower moving early episodes are epics in the way that no other detective series ever was (in point of fact, these were never 'series' in the traditional sense).

My favourite story was the very first, Death of an Expert Witness, on the grounds of the atmosphere it created; that really set the scene for what followed and was always going to be a hard act to follow. However justice was done in the form of the delightfully creepy Shroud for a Nightingale which was probably the best of the lot (not my favourite, but I felt it was actually the best - and there is a difference between the two). Whichever you prefer, both grip the viewer from beginning to end and I be surprised if one or the other doesn't make it to the top of the list for most people who buy this set.

Personally I found that the two subsequent stories, Cover Her Face and The Black Tower, took much too long to get off the ground. However, they are certainly worth persevering as they pick up with pace mid-way through and buy the final episodes build up into very tense finales.

Without giving the game away, A Taste For Death built upon the end of The Black tower in so much as this is where significantly more physical action was infused into the Adam Dalgliesh Chronicles; it was certainly an interesting turning point, if perhaps neither were my favourite examples.

As we move onto Devices and Desires things are back up to standard; other critics have slated this particular dramatisation but I found it recreated some of the earlier atmosphere. It's one to watch out for as although the villain doesn't exactly come as a surprise in the end, the way the conclusion is executed is dramatic and there is a personal side to Dalgliesh that hadn't been seen since Expert Witness.

Moving on, the two standalone episodes, Unnatural Causes and A Mind To Murder, are possibly the lower points. Not bad as such, but both are around 1 hour and 40 minutes and it's not enough time to justice to either storylines or acting; another hour would have made all the difference. However, they demonstrate that times had changed in television production values as from a technical point of view the episodes were very highly polished and had a cinematic feel to them; in the obvious sense this was because there had clearly been a switch from tape to film, but it went much deeper than than that also that direction was very different indeed. One of those things you have to see to appreciate I guess.

I'm pleased to say that this boxed set ends on the high note with which it started and the penultimate Original Sin was well balanced in so many ways (and featured a superb performance by Ian Bannen - possibly in one of his very last roles?). Likewise a Certain Justice, although perhaps not particularly credible (at least as these stories go), was a fine swansong.

There are some short but interesting extras on the discs - the fact that I never tend to bother with such things is possibly worth a mention in it's own right.

The price seems to fluctuate enormously on this boxed set for some reason, but I guarantee that it's worth waiting for the next sale...
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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Dalgliesh!!, 5 April 2010
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This review is from: PD James: The Adam Dalgliesh Chronicles [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
Roy Marsden's understated wonderful performance as Adam Dalgleish is breaktaking. Without hardly saying a word he conveyed the nature of this highly complex man. You felt that he was powerful, yet there was an underlying gentleness and kindness to the character. You could believe that he had an inner depth and was a sensitive soul who wrote and appreciated poetry.

I have thoroughly enjoyed revisiting this series which was first broadcast in 1984. Shroud for a Nightingale is superb. I have more to watch and know that once I have finished this box set I shall revisit time and time again.

An excellent value for money set for anyone who enjoys nostalgia and a slower pace of policing.

Highly recommend this to others.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adam Dalgliesh Chronicles, 14 May 2013
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This review is from: PD James: The Adam Dalgliesh Chronicles [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
I had seen a few AD films on TV over the years and, like most of the murder mystery genre, Poirot, Marple (earlier), Foyle's War, Lewis (later), thoroughly enjoyed them. I discovered the novels about two years ago when I was given a present of 'Cover Her Face': coincidentally the first AD novel. I was hooked, taken by the depth of PD James' writing, compared to the 'lighter' Agatha Christie novels, which had until then been my usual fare. I am now on my seventh novel (not reading in order).
When I saw this set advertised, I hesitated at first at the price but - 39 hours' worth - there would be many weeks' viewing here, so I treated myself. We are currently watching the films after I have read the book, currently on the fifth (Expert Witness)
Firstly, a few general comments. I find the departures from the books mildly irritating - Cover Her Face: a Cypriot drug cartel!; Mind to Murder: a totally different setting; Expert Witness: a pregnant wife for AD! (My own fault for reading the books first.) Secondly, the films tend to be slow moving and some are over long, at least six are over four hours. They are a relic of their time and, if made today (who would play AD!!??) would probably be 90-100 minutes long.
However, for a fan of AD, this collection is a must. Roy Marsden plays AD perfectly, just as PDJ created him: authoritative, compassionate, melancholy, private (sad and lonely even).
Comments on the ones I have watched:
Cover Her Face: A good story (notwithstanding the above comment), but over long, given that this was one of the shorter stories.
Mind To Murder: To date, the weakest film and the weakest book. (Perhaps if I had read this first, I may not have sought out the others.)
Black Tower: Enjoyable but perhaps a bit too predictable. My wife guessed who dunnit too early on.
Original Sin: To date, my favourite book and favourite film. Intricate plot and sub-plots, suspense builds nicely and film stays pretty much true to the book. (My wife was not sure who did it until it became obvious!)
Expert Witness: I've read that this is widely regarded as the best AD novel. Of those I've read, I would put it second to Original Sin. The film is lengthy (perhaps the longest?) and slow moving, but this adds to the build up, and maintains the generous list of possible suspects. It remains pretty much true to the story (so far - we're half way through) and the wife is still guessing!
If you are an AD fan, get this collection now. if you haven't yet discovered AD, but like murder mysteries in the Foyles' War or Lewis vein, then get it. It will keep you off the streets and you'll be spared from having to watch normal Saturday night fare.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful collection of classic stories, 14 Sep 2011
By 
Mr. Michael Ball "hopbackguy" (Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: PD James: The Adam Dalgliesh Chronicles [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
I've long been an admirer of Roy Marsden's portrayal of Adam Dalgliesh, and PD James' stories, so the opportunity to own them in one very well priced box set was too good to miss. The lack of extras doesnt bother me; the dramas themselves are the real material, and the quality of picture and sound is fine, especially given the age of the first couple of programs. One thing that I do think could have been done better was the handling of the ad-breaks. These programs were on ITV, and so every so often the break music and program title overlays a few seconds of the program at the beginning of what would have been the ad break. This is followed by the music and scene for the restart after the break. Since these overlaid a few seconds of scene from the drama I can understand why they couldnt have been just cut - the transition would have been obvious. But instead there are several seconds where nothing is happening except a still screen with the program title; I think a little more effort could have been made to fade out and back in more seamlessly to make the absent ad break less obvious. Nit picking though, it doesnt really detract from the enjoyment of the drama. Very happy with these.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable nostalgia, 12 May 2013
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This review is from: PD James: The Adam Dalgliesh Chronicles [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
PD JAMES: THE ADAM DALGLIESH CHRONICLES [DVD] 2009

I only got around to replacing our old set of VHS recordings of the PD James television series of Commander Dalgliesh detective mysteries when this set was issued and my wife and I have finally watched the whole series over the course of a week last month.

Roy Marsden's excellent performance as Adam Dalgliesh is modest and understated as the sensitive poet detective, and several of the guest stars put in very good performances, but times and expectations move on and sadly I felt that the first three productions were now rather dated, the always notoriously poor Anglia Television sets were wobbly, the outside location shots in various public buildings sometimes poorly lit and the sound patchy; some of the acting now seems rather hammy.

Having said that, we really did enjoy revisiting this series from the mid 1980's particularly as many of the location shots were filmed around Norfolk where we live part of the year and were familiar to us.

The earlier episodes were marred a little by poor editing of the original television recordings, clipped or over running at the points where commercial breaks would have occurred and some stretching with the music in places; but overall quite a good transfer to DVD for a 25 year old TV program.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Adam Dalgleish Chronicles [DVD], 21 Feb 2011
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GF Edwards (Lancashire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: PD James: The Adam Dalgliesh Chronicles [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
Having checked price before ordering, I then ordered and delivery was within a few days. The quality of the DVDs is excellent and the cover notes were very helpful and I am well pleased with the purchase.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Roy Marsden IS Adam Dalgliesh, 28 Dec 2013
By 
The Raven ""Max"" (Brno, Czech Republic) - See all my reviews
This review is from: PD James: The Adam Dalgliesh Chronicles [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
Martin Shaw gave it a good go (and in fairness the BBC productions weren't bad at all) but Roy Marsden is the definitive article.

I am 35 years of age. So these shows were made when I was very very young. They are from a time when TV shows were allowed to breathe and were about character and suspense. None is this more evident than the first story "Death Of An Expert Witness" where Dalgliesh doesn't really feature as a main character until Episode 3 when FINALLY a murder is committed. That is not a critique btw. Whilst I do think compared to the others in the box set, DOAEW is definitely the slowest, it still sets the precedent for what is to come.

I always remember these series for the haunting theme tune and two of the serials in particular "The Black Tower" is frankly the best crime drama of its type ever made. Suspenseful from start to finish and very loyal to its novel source. Whereas "Devices & Desires" is the last GREAT Dalgliesh before it broke its tried and true formula of 6-7 episodes a book (as opposed to 2 hours ala Morse). D&D frankly scared the bejaysus out of me for two specific moments; i.e. the cliffhanger to Episode 1 and the cliffhanger to Episode 5. Brilliant direction, action and the tension the series created make those moments truly "OMG" scary to this very day.

Subsequent serials from "Devices and Desires" were a downturn of quality, but Marsden was never less that excellent in the role. I give the boxset 4 out of 5 simply because the last three serials were simply not up to the unbelievably high standard of the first 6 serials, but this is a box set to treasure and at a good price (as of 28 Dec 13 - currently £39).

If you like the books - buy this.
If you have a vague memory of liking even one of the series - buy this.

Your faith in Robin Chapman (dramatist) and Roy Marsden (the main man) will not go unrewarded. Remarkable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poor start, but improves as the series develop, 4 Dec 2011
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P. Isaacs "thirdipete" (Somerset, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: PD James: The Adam Dalgliesh Chronicles [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
I like to spread out my viewing of a series, so I'm only a little over half way through the set. I found the first series, Death of an Expert Witness, slow, not very well dramatised, poorly directed and with some incredibly bad acting, especially by some of the minor characters; nevertheless, the story was strong enough for me to keep watching. However, the second series is noticeably better in all respects, and from then on production values improve enormously. I look forward to watching the remaining stories.

Definite pluses are the fast DVD start-ups and the dead simple and silent menus!

Perhaps not the best boxed set of crime dramas ever, but still hugely more enjoyable than most of the rubbish on TV these days.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PD James, 14 Dec 2010
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This review is from: PD James: The Adam Dalgliesh Chronicles [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
This Adam Dalgliesh series is very enjoyable and although made some years ago now it is still very believable and doesn't appear too dated. I enjoyed it as much as the first time around on T.V. If you haven't seen it or have forgotten the plot then if you love detective stories - it's well worth watching.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dalgliesh at his Best, 19 Nov 2014
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This review is from: PD James: The Adam Dalgliesh Chronicles [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
I have not had a chance to view all the discs yet but have looked at one or two and find them exactly as I remembered - fantastic. Yes I know they were made some time ago and the quality is not 100%, but what does one expect. Roy Marsden IS Adam Dalgliesh they could not have picked a better actor for the part, he is a good detective, yet has a compassionate side which you do not see in many of the later detectives. Unfortunately the later books which Dalgliesh was acted by Martin Shaw were not so good, they were just not the same. The books do vary slightly from the series but I certainly don't think that makes any difference to the enjoyment and I for one don't mind. I suppose I also like them because I know many of the locations. So if you like P. D. James you'll love these.
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